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Conrad Weiser, Terachiawagon, Womelsdorf, Pennsylvania
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Conrad Weiser was an adopted son of the Mohawk Nation. Says Hale Sipe, a historian of Pennsylvania of this remarkable man: “When he was seventeen years old, young Weiser went to live with Quagnant, a prominent Iroquois chief, who, taking a great fancy to Conrad, requested the father that the young man might dwell with him for a time. He remained with the Iroquois chief for eight months, learning the Indian language and customs thoroughly. It is said that while on a hunting trip he met the great Iroquois chief Shikellamy, the Vice-Gerent of the Six Nations, who was well pleased with Weiser on account of his being able to speak the Iroquois tongue, and they became fast friends. Weiser became in time the official interpreter for the Six Nations in practically all of their dealings with the white people. While visiting his old home near Womelsdorf, he died July 13, 1760, much lamented by the Colony of Pennsylvania as well as by the Indians. Said a great Iroquois chieftain, commenting on the death of Weiser, ‘We are at a loss and sit in darkness.’ If all white men had been as just to the Indians as was this sturdy German, the history of the advance of civilization in America undoubtedly would not contain so many bloody chapters. Conrad Weiser’s home is still standing, and in the orchard above the house, rests all that is mortal of this distinguished frontiersman; while beside him are the graves of several Indian chiefs. Having loved him in life, they wished to repose beside him in death. A beautiful monument has been erected to his memory in the “Conrad Weiser Memorial Park,” near Womelsdorf, having thereon the words which George Washington uttered concerning him, while standing at his grave, in 1793: “Posterity will not forget his services.” His Mohawk name meant, “Holder of the Heavens,” a very sacred Mohawk name.
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